January 2008


Today, Lucky Ron the Goldfish would have celebrated his sixth birthday. But he’s dead. Because that’s what happens to goldfish.

… And that was an interesting opener. Light, happy. Not foreboding in the least. Where do I even go from there? Would you like to hear about my dog’s gimpy leg? (It actually amuses me because he only remembers to be a cripple when he wants attention look at me I am so pathetic I can barely walk even though I just jumped on the counter to eat an entire stick of butter but maybe a treat would make me feel better.)

Hmm. This is going nowhere. The weather is making me moody. A week with temperatures below zero makes me want to stay in bed and hibernate for a few months. No? That’s not interesting or happy either?

Something optimistic:

I have THREE blind dates for the month of February. Three boys that have neither: a) girlfriends or b) out-of-state residence. Internet, do you know what that is? It’s called PROGRESS.

I am already planning to dislike all of them, but hey, PROGRESS HAS NEVER BEEN EASY.

Friends have been trying to set me up for a while and their sales pitches have gotten more and more persistent. With that energy, my friends should have gone into the used-car business. Or worked on a children’s television show. When I picture their speech patterns (because this is something I do? And it’s normal?), every sentence ends with an exclamation point. Seemingly average characteristics are made extraordinary with the addition of an exclamation point. He has blue eyes! He is taller than you! He walks on his legs!

I am understandably impressed.

The candidates:

Bachelor #1: “GORGEOUS! And a trouble maker!”

Bachelor #2: An electrician, a smoker, and shy. “But he’s SO nice!”

Bachelor #3: Fluent in Spanish, described as: “like [Work Boyfriend] because he’s somewhat metro but goofy! And he likes his family!”

Although meeting new people doesn’t give me anxiety –especially since I am already planning to not like them so hey, no pressure, they can’t reject me, I’ve already rejected them first, SO THERE, SUCK IT (I apologize. I, apparently, did not take my anti-immaturity pills this morning) –I do worry about making it awkward, both on the date and after the date when I have to tell the fixer-upper “hey, I think the [fixed-upée] is dumb.” Maybe an exclamation point will soften the blow? He sucks!

And that concludes today’s bipolar episode. 

The Kid From Boston has depression. Serious depression. He has had it since high school and is very ashamed of the illness, which is probably why I hesitate to share it. It’s not my secret to tell.

And yet I just did tell. Oh well. I think his shame is somewhat ridiculous and he should get over it. Cancer victims don’t walk around feeling ashamed; neither should those suffering from depression.

But then, I don’t really know what I am talking about, as I personally do not suffer from the disease. I have been depressed; I do not have depression. I think that is the most important distinction to make when discussing the disease. My depression includes sulking and sleeping but never thoughts of suicide. A night and day difference. Not every condition deserves to be elevated to a disease. Likewise, as a migraine sufferer, I will get annoyed if you refer to your headache as a migraine. If your symptoms include: numb limbs, loss of vision and a severe case of stroke-face, then yeah, you have more than a headache and deserve all the available sympathy and medicinal benefits you can muster. But if you took two Advil to rid yourself of a “migraine” and are moping around the office, I will probably secretly hate you and want to punch you in the face.

So no, no depression for me, quite the opposite actually, I am a decently happy person. I just am. Yes, slightly neurotic but my joie de vivre is, on average, unmistakable. Life and I tend to have a good time together.

Throughout the relationship, The Kid and I kept each other balanced: he was the brooding cynic, I was the naïve optimist. I kept him from sinking too low and he kept my head out of the clouds. Hints at co-dependency, doesn’t it? I suppose any relationship could be skewed to argue that route; we had our moments but on the whole, it was complementary. We admired each other for having qualities the other lacked.

For the most part, his depression remained quiet during undergrad. Winter was always a little difficult, but I never saw a person happier than him to see spring arrive. He used to pick me up from my classes and suggest mid-day beers or hand-holding campus strolls. I loved spring for this reason. His proneness to winter depression is partially why his law school choice is in warm weather. To keep the SAD at bay.

The time when we were apart in those two years after college was the difficult part.

Once when he was trying to explain our downfall, he described me as his light. That all throughout undergrad, I was full of an inner light. A happiness exuding from every pore.  I made him laugh daily and have hope for the future. The light was contagious.

After college, I went through my own depression. Situational, not clinical, but difficult times nonetheless. He was the only one whom I trusted enough to share that I was not holding my shit together, that I was not in control and had no hope for the future. It was a heavy load for one person. What little light he had soaked up from our college years was not enough to carry both of us. When I would speak of dark things or save my daily cry for our phone call, he would have no clue as to how to bring light into our lives, as that had always naturally and effortlessly been my department. My depression caused me to be extremely self-involved. I was too concerned and consumed about my own misery to ask about his general well-being. We spent two years trying to support each other through the phone lines but that wasn’t enough; our brightness faded and, without any light, his dark cloud returned.

With the darkness, he tried to prove that he was unworthy of me. He felt that his disease, like my light, was contagious –he was causing my depression and I would be better without him.

Enter her. He once described her as a pharmacy with a fucked-up childhood and a mean sense of humor. When he was with her, he didn’t feel like he was out of his league; he could continue his downward spiral without judgment or someone wanting to save him. Because being with someone unstable is often normalizing.

When I gave him a chance to redeem himself, he assumed I would never forgive so he started dating her. It was the easier choice. I might have forgiven him, I might not have –I do tend to hold grudges –but I was never given that chance. He gave up and moved on immediately. The most significant difference between us was that my situational depression was a constant battle against the funk and the frustration; his clinical depression was the absence of hope and succumbing to the battle. Not everyone comes equipped with the energy to fight.

He finally sought treatment in late October/early November. The Happy Pills made a difference almost immediately. He described it as a haze clearing, that he could see through the fog again. That’s when he started having greater communication with me. And he was him again, not some apathetic boob. By then, it was too late for us. I am sure he does have feelings for her, but was I ever threatened by her? Not really (ok, yes, definitely at times).  But it’s hard to be threatened by someone when the boy is still in love with you. I was threatened by his illness. Still am actually. Because I worry that his shame over treatment will trump having a stabilized life.

Am I blameless in all of this? No. Is he? Also no. Do I have trouble hating someone suffering from an illness? Fuck yes.

His most common phrase was, and still is, “I am never going to get over what I did to us.” I don’t know if I will get over it either. But I do know that I have things and reactions for which I blame myself too.

she broke up with me today. I thought you would be happy to know I got what I deserved

I am a girl who likes her alone time.

Not saying that I prefer to be alone, I am a social creature, but I like that breathing time. I need that breathing time. That time to lie in my bed underneath eight comforters or to sit outside encased in the quiet night … and just breathe.

The work travel, comprised of thirteen-hour days followed by dinners and cocktails with co-workers, has inhibited that time. I am starting to feel suffocated. Not to be misunderstood, I like this new position and like what I am doing; the travel, the socializing, the new enviornment and the variety are all very enjoyable. I just wish the day had a few more hours to hold my alone time.

And I refuse to believe that my affinity for being alone will cause me to live my life alone. I am capable of relationships, romantic or otherwise. I just need a balance.

I found that my biggest problem with a long-distance relationship was not trust or future uncertainty or loneliness –ok, loneliness would make the top ten –but that I needed to share my alone time with him; that time allocated for breathing was spent talking. On those hard days where all I needed was to lie with him on the couch and breathe and piece myself together, I instead was required to make a phone call and talk through my day. Because talking was all we had and I needed to share something to remain connected. And the alternative: share empty space over the phone? Well, Darth Vader, that’d just be creepy.

The two years after college were some of the most difficult in my life. And as I was struggling and depressed and miserable, what I needed most was to be held by the guy I loved, as horrible and cringe-worthy as that sounds. I needed that couch time with that warm body who stayed quiet and understood that I was piecing my sanity together. But I couldn’t have that. Instead, I had the phone. The phone that required talking. All the time with the talking. I picked many fights and lashed out many times in anger and from frustration because the cold phone could not, no matter how much I wanted it to, transcend into him, the warm body, the guy I loved who just let me be. The suffocation caused desperation and cloudy vision; I wasn’t sure how to fix myself or our situation. I picked more fights … because that made sense? He grew frustrated with his role as my dartboard (yeah, I don’t know why, that sounds like a good time to me, he’s always been so unreasonable.), and he pushed away as a result.

Neither of us handled the situation well. But then, that’s hindsight talking.

This single life has taught me how much I need my time and space to just be. To maintain what little sanity I still possess. And me crazier than this? Yeah, not something I want to think about either.  The work thing has been ok, though somewhat suffocating, but not enough to induce complete crazy.  And thank God it’s only a four-day event.

*I keep saying this, but I owe you some back-story; I never have the energy to delve deeper into the depths of The Kid. Someday, Internet, I will help you understand. I don’t promise you will like him anymore than you already do (don’t), but you will at least understand.

Airports make me very happy.

“How is he doing –The Kid –how is he?”

“He’s good, doing really well, I think.”

“He is? Good, I worry. So he is happy with her?”

“Yeah, seems to be.”

“Baby Cakes, do you like her?”

“Yeah, I’m sorry, Mols, but I do.”

“We’re not anything alike.”

“No, you’re not. At all.  But I am too stoned and drunk for you to be asking me these things, you really shouldn’t ask, I will answer everything.”

“Oh yeah? How’s their sex life?”

“Mols. Fuck. I know they have sex and I haven’t heard any complaints.”

“Babe, does he use any of my nicknames on her?”

“What nicknames?”

“He used to –and still does sometimes –call me Love, Sweetheart, and, when he wanted to annoy me, Molly Bear.”

“No. He doesn’t. The most I have heard is [add an unnecessary y to her name].”

“Ok. Thank you.”

“Don’t tell anyone I told you.”

“I won’t.”

Sweets and Baby Cakes, my two best guy friends from college, are also The Kid From Boston’s best friends. The nicknames were bequeathed soon after The Kid and I started dating –although Sweets originally suggested “Spot” when I requested a pet name –when The Kid would tease me mercilessly and I would laughingly threaten to find a new boyfriend or more accurately TWO new boyfriends. The duo charismatically played along, provoking The Kid until his jealousy caused him to take my hand and kiss my neck as a peace offering and reminder of my rightful place. Although my place has changed and the Tweedle-Dee/Dumb Duo no longer antagonizes The Kid for sport, the nicknames stuck and to this day those names are how we are listed in each others’ phones.

They have always been my little playmates, whether convincing me to join the Booting Game festivities (different tasks to initiate booting –aka vomiting –like chugging vodka over the toilet) or to get me stoned and then watch soft-core porn and see how long it would take me to notice (sometimes hours).

We all met at the same time, remaining good friends mostly because they were The Kid’s roommates and, as The Kid and I were together daily, I saw these boys at least that often. We were all friends, comfortable to hang out as a group or individually.

I never felt like just their roommate’s girlfriend.

It’s complicated now. Because now, more than ever, I feel a tie to The Kid, that when I hang out with them I am their old roommate’s ex-girlfriend. The elephant in the room fades with alcohol, but it never disappears. And I understand that maybe it’s not supposed to clear. Because our memories, so many of which involve The Kid, nevertheless tied us all together and that history is important. But that still doesn’t make it any easier.

Sweets currently resides with The Kid and is also going to law school. We still call and email frequently. Baby Cakes lives in downtown Minneapolis, a convenient location when I need to pass out and my friends have abandoned me for booty calls.

I slept at Baby Cakes’ apartment both nights last weekend. On Friday we were sober –which is a rarity for us together –and we watched a movie; I always sleep during movies. If the weather wasn’t below zero, I would have gone home. But warming my car seemed like an effort at 2:30am and his couch seemed like the better option, especially when he covered me with a comforter.

On Saturday I was drunk and slept in his bed. Nothing happened. If I wanted something to happen, I probably could have made it happen. It would have grossed me out. But sometimes I question how he feels for me.

We’ve always teased, and I returned the teasing comfortably because I had The Kid as a barrier. Now I feel weird about it. He will now rub my back when I am quiet in a group setting or touch my knee and ask what’s wrong. He will integrate innuendos into our repertoire. On Saturday, he came to The Wine Bar for dinner. Later, when I was texting The Bestest Friend, he joined me on the couch and the conversation bordered on flirtatious banter. We laugh together; we do not flirt with each other. There is a huge difference.

I am really hoping this is all in my head.

When recounting my weekend tales to my mom, she asked, “Would you ever consider dating [Baby Cakes]?”

“Only because I know how much it would hurt The Kid.”

Blunt. But honest. I don’t want to date him nor his law-school-attending counterpart. And I know I play the “just friends” card often, but those boys –like The Firefighter and my Work Boyfriend –I selfishly want to keep as mine. I do not want to share them. Sweets and Baby Cakes? Exactly the opposite. I want to set them up with good friends of mine and watch them be happy in non-platonic relationships.

They are my boys. I like taking care of them, like being their goofy playmate and peer, like baking cakes for their birthdays; anything sexual was saved for their roommate.  Always has been that way, always will be. I really hope it goes both ways.

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